Monday, December 22, 2008

Alice the Traveling Puggle.

I've been waiting for this for a while-- the annual pilgrimage to the Midwestern Motherland. Normally I go alone and fly in, but this year I decided to bring both the Alice and the Human Male. We thought about flying, but my luggage regularly goes missing at the airport by my folks', and Alice is four pounds heavier than the carry-on limit, so she'd have to get shipped. I can guarantee she would've been "accidentally" left on a runway or ended up in Peru. Or even if she did happen to make it, there'd be a spitting match between airlines about who should pick up/drop off luggage when you take more than one (like last year). So we decided to rent a car and drive.

Alice is a fabulous car dog. Typically she just curls up on whoever's in the passenger seat, but the car we rented is bigger than my regular car and she made a little nest for herself in the back.

It was so cute. She stayed like that for most of the trip. Here she is in Pennsylvania:

After what seemed like a day and a half but was likely seven hours, we made it to Cleveland. I don't know what it is about that town, but I love it. Every time I've been there, I've had a moment like Liz has in that one episode of 30 Rock. Cleveland's cute, normal, there's fun stuff to do, the food is divine, and the people are soooo nice. I would flee to The Cleve any day. We met up with my dad and Harry the pug there.

Harry is both the world's biggest and happiest pug. He looks like a bear cub, his tongue is too long for his head and is always sticking out, and he either wants to play or snuggle all the time. He's the best. We expected Harry and Alice's meeting to be pretty easy-- Harry's a pretty calm boy. In actuality, Harry got so excited and started wiggling everywhere, it got a little overwhelming for Alice. But now, two days later, things are perfectly fine. They've started playing little games and so far Alice is doing all right-- she has a bit of a hard time figuring out if a dog is trying to play rough or attack her, but so far, no one's bleeding or wearing an eyepatch.

We stayed overnight in Cleveland and bummed around town on Saturday. We took Alice to two important landmarks: first, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...

... And then to the
Christmas Story House.

If you look closely, you can even see the leg lamp in the front window. And yes, as we passed by, there were ten-year-olds running their hands up the leg.

Saturday afternoon, the five of us packed up the cars and headed to Michigan. We got to the Holmstead around 7P or so, and were greeted by the family-- Mamala, my sister C-Bond, niece Mini-C, and brother Pedro-- and the Zoo (two more dogs, three cats, and two birds).

Izzy is an absolutely adorable pug, but not the brightest bulb in the bush. She's also an alpha-dog, which makes the stupid even funnier. She's such a sweetheart. She likes toys and to pose for pictures. We were expecting Izzy and Alice's meeting to be one extreme or the other-- either they'd be the best of friends or each would both end up at the vet in a hurry. Interestingly, it's fallen in between. Izzy barks a lot at Alice, and Alice has snipped a few times, but she initially seemed a little afraid of her. She's doing a lot better now-- they've started playing tug of war with their toys.

Then there's Z. Z's the latest addition to the family-- the folks got her in April. This was the first time I've met her. She's very small, somewhere around five pounds. And about a pound of it is hair. She's extra cute and timid. There's even a joke in the family that Z stands for Zeta, because that's the type of dog she is. At the same time, she'll jump and nip if you look like you're thinking about taking her beloved toys. I think that she's been the toughest introduction for Alice so far-- two dogs who don't quite know how to react to one another.

I haven't spent good time with the cats yet (two of them aren't fond of the dogs and spend time in their own domains), but Emmie has visited my room a few times. Mainly to complain that she has to eat soft food instead of her precious dry food, and then eat all of Alice's food. You can tell slightly from this picture that Emmie is very, very crosseyed. Sometimes this makes her a little cranky. So does not getting enough love and attention. And she'll let you know. She can be obnoxiously cuddly.

I'm not sure if it's made the news (typically the Midwest doesn't, especially Michigan and/or if New York is getting creepy weather), but the Midwest has gotten slammed-- even by Midwestern standards-- with snow the past few weeks. We thought we missed the big snow of Friday, but then there was another big storm Saturday and last night. I'm guessing there's been upwards of six to eight inches just this weekend, on top of the foot or so they got on Friday.

A few days ago, my brother decided to make a maze for the dogs in the backyard. Being so small, they'd otherwise get stuck in the snow. They all love it, and spend a little time every time they go outside chasing each other in it.

We don't know if Alice has ever seen snow before (last year it slushed three times in DC), but she seems to be taking to it quite well. I let her out as soon as we got to the Holmstead and she flopped into a pile. She sticks her face right into it and gets a little snow beard-- it's really adorable.

All in all, things are going better than anticipated. Everyone's getting more accustomed to the others, and Alice is starting to get more obnoxious-- a sign that she's feeling comfortable. I'm looking forward to seeing how things evolve over the next couple of days.

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